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What happen when a doctor misdiagnoses cancer?

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

Finding out you have cancer is never easy, but it becomes even more difficult when you discover that a previous doctor misdiagnosed you. Whether the misdiagnosis was missing the cancer completely or giving you the wrong type of diagnosis, it often means you will suffer more due to the error.

Medical News Today identifies cancer misdiagnosis as one of the top three to cause serious harm. A cancer misdiagnosis is most likely to happen in an outpatient situation.

Potential risks

Some of the risks of a mistaken cancer diagnosis lead to permanent disability, such as loss of a part of the body due to tumor removal. These might include cancer spreading throughout the body or to different areas of the body. Once cancer spreads, it becomes much harder to treat. Eventually, the outcome is often death.


A misdiagnosis can occur for several reasons and often is the result of human error. In some cases, your doctor may miss cancer due to bad test results where the error occurred in the lab or through the collection of the sample.

It is also possible for your doctor to make a bad judgment. For example, he or she may think that your symptoms are something else and decide at that time not to test for cancer or look further into them but instead try a different treatment for another condition.

Miscommunication may be another reason behind your misdiagnosis. This is most likely when you have to see multiple doctors and they fail to communicate clearly with each other. Your doctor may not have all the information he or she needs to make the correct diagnosis. However, your doctor ultimately needs to be sure he or she has the correct and complete information before moving forward with treating you.

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